Bad Weather Hawks

Airmen deployed to Bagram AB, Afghanistan, for combat search and rescue work frequently have to sub for soldiers who conduct the Army’s UH-60 Blackhawk medical evacuation mission because the USAF HH-60G Pave Hawk can handle bad weather. During one recent 24-hour period, the 33rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron deployed from Kadena AB, Japan, flew 27 hours, covering five missions and saving nine lives, according to an Aug. 20 Bagram report. The Pave Hawk, modified for the CSAR role unlike its brother Blackhawk, has the communications and navigation suite and weather radar that enables it to fly at night and in poor weather. The 33rd ERS has been assisting the Army with its frontline medevac mission since 2006. “During periods of poor weather, the Army often calls upon the Air Force to conduct medevac missions; we are always ready to use our capability to support the joint team,” said an unnamed 33rd ERS airman. The Aug. 5 assist turned into one of the longest medevac operations so far for the 33rd, which received subsequent taskings even before dropping off earlier ones. (Bagram report by SSgt. Rachel Martinez)